Key EPA memo erased, former official admits

A former official of the Environmental Protection Agency said a key memo was erased from EPA computers in the way documents are routinely erased from agency files.

The memo was cited by EPA chief Anne Gorsuch Burford, who married Sunday, as one reason she fired agency official Rita Lavelle two weeks ago. The document is central to Congress' investigation of toxic-waste enforcement, which had been hindered for two months until the White House last week agreed to release some secret documents.

But the flap at EPA has obscured the expiration of key environmental laws (see story, Page 1). Meanwhile, the agency reported preliminary results showing high levels of the toxic chemical dioxin in Times Beach, Mo.

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